Friday, March 13, 2009

Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole

What is it about Broccoli that pairs so well with cheese? Is it the perfect balance of contrasting color on the color wheel that any artist has seen? Is it the slightly sweet rustic flavor of the broccoli paired with the salty cheese? Is it the age old need to smother something healthy in fat? Mmmmm fat. I'm not sure. This however is one of my family favorites for dinner tonight and for putting a couple of casseroles in the freezer for later.

Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole
1 small onion, chopped
10 oz packages frozen broccoli
1T butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1tsp dill, 1 tsp minced garlic 1 tsp curry powder.
cracked black pepper and all purpose seasoning to taste.
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups rice, cooked with 6 cups of chicken broth and set aside to make casserole.

In a large skillet over medium heat, suate the onion in butter for 3-5 minutes until clear. Add flour. Whisk in the milk. Add seasoning. Stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Once cheese is melted, add the broccoli.
Scoop over the rice.
Serve some now, or divide rice and broccoli topping between 3 8 inch foil pans. Put in fridge and chill. Getting the food cold quickly will keep food borne illnesses from growing in your casserole. Yikes. THEN Cover tightly with foil. Label clearly with the following directions:
Defrost 24 hours in the fridge and bake 350 degrees 25-30 minutes. If cooking from frozen, bake 350 degrees 45 minutes to one hour. You may top with extra cheese if desired.
Note: if you don't want to make the sauce from scratch, you may use one large jar of Ragu double cheese sauce instead, just be sure to season well.

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